The Odessa College golf team returns to the course today as the Wranglers begin the spring portion of their schedule at the James Litz Invitational in San Antonio.
Odessa College enters the tournament as the No. 3 team in the NJCAA rankings behind No. 1 Dodge City and No. 2 Indian Hills.
Three months have passed since the Wranglers teed it up in a competitive setting after winning three tournaments in the fall.
Odessa College closed the season with a win at its own tournament on Nov. 9 at the Odessa Country Club to go always with titles in Andrews and Ruidoso, N.M.
After time away from the course during the winter break, the Wranglers are ready to get back into the swing of things.
"I think everybody is playing well, obviously the conditions being cold and windy aren't conducive to great scoring, but overall everyone feels pretty good about their game," Odessa College head coach Paul Chavez said. "We're definitely looking forward to a great spring."
The Odessa College lineup will be fairly similar to what the Wranglers used in the fall with sophomores Adam Blomme, Augustin Hole and Van Thomas and freshman Parker Beaty slotting into the top four spots. Freshman Chris Finnie will fill out the No. 5 role in San Antonio, but Chavez also expects Dustin Lewis to factor in at some point during the spring as he recuperates from a back injury.
Blomme and Hole having been shaking off the rust the past couple of weeks after returning home to Europe where the weather wasn't conducive to golf over the holiday break.
Blomme, from Sweden, and Hole, from France, both said it was nice to get the time off and mentally recharge for a stretch run that will hopefully culminate with an NJCAA national championship in May.
"My preparation was probably not the best," Blomme said. "I was back home in Sweden and we had a lot of snow. I couldn't play outdoors at all. I could only play indoors. I didn't really see the ball. It's always a shock to see the ball flight again."
Beaty, a 2016 Permian graduate, said he got plenty of practice in during the mild winter in Odessa. The preparation helped him get out of a slump that plagued him toward the end of the fall campaign.
"It's finally coming back together. It's like perfect timing," Beaty said. "I think we're all playing pretty well. The weather was pretty nice over the break. I'm real lucky because I'm the only one who's from around here. Everyone had to go back home to snow and I played quite a bit."
The opening tournament is hosted by Incarnate Word and will feature numerous NCAA Division I teams, giving the Wranglers a stiff test early on.
"Obviously, we're there to win, but we want to be able to compete," Chavez said. "The main thing is to get our guys some experience and get that first tournament under their belts."
Article by Joshua Perry OA